The entrance to Dungeon Provincial Park is a very short distance south of the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse. The short, gravel road travels 2 KM (1.3 miles) along the picturesque and rugged Newfoundland coastline, east towards the Trinity Bay side of Bonavista Peninsula.
An obvious, weathered, wooden viewing platform, across the road from a small gravel parking area, contains an introductory sign which explains how the ‘dungeon’ was created and what it will eventually become under the relentless force of ocean waves.
The two sea caves gradually enlarged, over many hundreds of years, to a volume which could not support the ceiling. Eventually the ceiling collapsed and over many more hundreds of years the debris was pulverized by the force of the waves and washed away, leaving the ‘dungeon’ seen today. Eventually the centre column will be undermined, leaving a small cove and a sea stack. Samples of the result are nearby, to the right, in Spillar’s Cove.
With a bit of gear for safety, it would be interesting to scramble to the bottom of the ‘dungeon’ for photographs. Another day. Remember to bring rope and harness.
A short walk to another wooden platform at the cliff’s edge overlooks the fascinating rock formations along the coastline topped by rolling and pristine green farming fields on the far side of Spillar’s Cove. The gentle salt air breeze combined, with the sun on our faces and the surrealistic sound and beauty of the coastline is medication for the soul. This is another place where it is important to ‘Remember to Breathe’.
A stroll, reluctantly away from Spillar’s Cove, on the path around the circumference of the ‘dungeon’, leads to the view west along the coast towards Cape Bonavista. The Cape Bonavista Lighthouse is visible in the hazy distance and a long lens draws it closer. It is difficult to put the camera down in this beautiful place and more difficult to leave the hypnotic sound and color of surf perpetually pounding against rock. Each churning wave creates a unique pattern of blue, turquoise and white foaming spray against black, brown and gray rock laced with multi-colored plant life. Each occurrence is like an audible snowflake. No two are exactly the same.
From Dungeon Provincial Park, the drive to St. John’s is about 300 KM (188 miles). Mélanie and I have been sharing the long driving day. The route we take off Bonavista Peninsula is no less boring than the earlier drive in from Terra Nova National Park. One of Newfoundland‘s most endearing characteristics is the endless selection of entertaining names of hamlets, villages towns, coves and nearly everything else. We are making good time on the drive south along the TransCanada Highway # 1 when we pass exits for Come by Chance, then Tickle Harbour Station. It is supper time when the turnoff for Dildo appears. There are simply some things in life that must be experienced. Apparently, supper in Dildo is one of ours. It is a 12 KM (7.5 mile) diversion off the main highway, past a predictably shaped lake into Dildo Bay at the southern tip of Trinity Bay. To make a long story shorter, every eatery we find is closed for the season, and the sun is setting. We settle for reciprocal photographs taken at the Dildo Post Office before walking across the street for photographs of the sun setting over Dildo Bay. I have been to Dildo. My life is complete.
The remainder of the return trip to St. John’s is in darkness. We have seen wonderful sights and absorbed an abundance of fascinating history, possibly at the expense of too much driving in a single day. Tomorrow will be our final half day in St. John’s before the return flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia and the drive north to Dieppe, New Brunswick. Hurricane Leslie is churning off the southern shore of Newfoundland and rapidly approaching the Island. Mélanie and I are uncertain how the next day will unfold.